Thursday, April 30, 2015
I have always experienced those late night urges; Twitter, scroll, close. Read Horoscope. Facebook, scroll, close. Instagram, scroll, close. Snapchat. Repeat. If you would see me walking across campus there is a 1/2 chance you would see me looking down at my phone.
Our professor had asked us to partake in a Media Fast that lasted from Monday-Wednesday and then a Media Binge that started Thursday and ended Sunday. At first I did not think this would be a problem at all but I soon encountered a few difficulties that would alter my perception on media itself. Our world is so consumed with the latest technology, who is Facebook official and what NFL prospect is going 1st in the Draft. The way we stay connected is through media.
I work everyday for four hours which allows my mind to escape the phone. When it came to the fast I tried to stay connected as much as I could. At one time I would have my laptop open, head phones in, and fingers scrolling on my phone. I would walk around campus with headphones in and would not even talk to anyone. I was experiencing heavy eyes and headaches by the end of the day. I realize that what I thought was a lot, those late night urges, was nothing compared to an actual media fast. I was constantly tuned in, headphones in, Netflix, texting and scrolling. By the end of the night I was drained. My brain was suggesting a break and to take a breather from the intense streaming.
By the time Thursday had came I was actually excited to have a chance to unplug. My willpower wanted me to unlock my phone and start scrolling. Social media is not the same as actual face to face contact but it is the sense of checking up on friends and knowing what is going on 24/7. This is one of the reasons our decade is constantly on there phone. At first it was like I had anxiety without it. As much as I would love to say I did, I was not able to cut it off completely. I did enough that allowed me to focus more on real-life relationships and build communication between classmates, teachers and my roommates. One way to begin a media fast is to start off small, fasting from one screen at a time, which is the method that would work best for me.
It is proven that media binges can actually benefit our lives. Screens give off a light wavelength that is similar to midday sun. Exposure to this kind of light in the middle of the night can trick our minds into thinking it's the middle of the day. A study has proven that just 30 minutes of this light exposure before bed reduces your bodies ability to prepare for sleep. This relates back to myself personally because I browse before bed and often find my mind wandering for quite some time before I'm able to fall asleep. Unplugging can also give you more free time which will results in a variety of benefits including extra time for school work, workouts or even time to spend with friends and family.
Overall, I believe I did benefit from the Media Binge/Fast because I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I am more reliant on my phone than I believed. It is very simple for my to leave the TV or Laptop off for a night or two but I am constantly tuned into my mobile phone. Not only did I learn about myself but I also learned more about our society. We have so many privileges that go unnoticed. Most Americans do not realize how lucky we are to be able to have all of the lavish things that we have. Since I partook in the media fast/binge a couple weeks ago I have been trying to binge for a few hours everyday in order to work on school work and cut down my number of headaches. I have been able to focus more and get more sleep since I have been trying to maintain my mini media binge.